In December 2010, I went on tour to China as the timpanist with the American Philharmonic. We played 8 concerts in 7 cities during two weeks.
With just two rehearsals and one pre-tour concert in the U.S., it was a challenge to execute my parts using a different instrument in a different hall for every performance. Not knowing what to expect, I was fortunate to have played in some of the most modern and beautifully designed concert halls in the world using the highest quality instruments available.
Qingdao Concert Hall Soundcheck
The repertoire included Raider's March and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Suite by John Williams, the dramatic Pines of Rome by Respighi, the Blue Danube Waltz and a selection of pieces written by Chinese composers.
I found China to be a fascinating country with diverse topography including modern cities, updated roads, freeways and subways, as well as impoverished villages and towns struggling to exist.
Being a musician on the road can sometimes be exhausting with daily travel and performing requirements, but the reward can be priceless, including insight into different cultures, the stimulus of language, art, architecture, food and more.
I think it is important for young students to understand there are many benefits and experiences to be realized through the participation of music. These experiences are not reserved for the professional musican alone.